Saturday, November 24, 2007

REVIEW: Beowulf

I have just a quick review of the new Robert Zemeckis CG animated film "Beowulf".

First let me say this about what I believe this film portends for the future of this kind of movie making. Beowulf is, in my mind, a breakthrough film. Computer generated films have been around for some time now with Pixar and DreamWorks putting out some of the most popular animated films of all time. Up until Beowulf the effect has been, well, animated. With Beowulf one can start to see what they are going to be able to do with the "actors" themselves and not just the supporting background as was done in with King Kong and the Lord of the Ring movies.

The main characters in this film looked a bit plastic and stiff but the animators are really closing in on the natural fluidity of human movement. Facial expression is still a little robotic but has come a long way since "Final Fantasy" of just a few years ago.

The movie itself was pretty exciting and enjoyable in its non-stop action. There are some adult themes and nudity that would not be appropriate for very young children. The story is very, very loosely based on the famous Beowulf and the Grendel poems of classic literature. I must say the final battle between Beowulf, the braggart hero, and the dragon (the spawn of Grendelmom and Beowulf) was just spectacular.

The real downer of the whole experience was the blatant and unnecessary anti-Christian sentiment laced throughout the story. If there was supposed to be some theme or thrust to the portrayal of the weak, sniveling, cowardly and abusive Christian character Unferth it was lost on me. Why Zemeckis wove this thread into this picture can only be known to him and his writers. It only served to sour me on what otherwise was a raucously fun afternoon movie experience with my son.

A few years ago I had a notion that someday in the not too distant future there is going to be software developed that would be able to take a book - your favorite book perhaps - and render it into a movie. With this film I can see the future coming sooner rather than later.